This post was written by an external contributor. Sarah Wilson states why grads should consider looking outside of London and opt to live in their uni town after finishing their studies.
So, you put on the mortar board and gown, snapped pics with your super proud parents and got enough likes on that perfectly-curated Instagram to leave you feeling validated for at least a week. You’ve graduated – congratulations!
Now, of course, comes the big, dreaded question – What next? If you’ve been a student in London, the answer seems pretty obvious: where better to start your career then the capital?
However, for non-London students, the answer is less obvious. It’s estimated that around a third of UK graduates head to London every year in search of work, which you may feel is the ‘right’ thing to do as a recent grad. There are actually a tonne of personal and professional benefits you could reap from staying in your university home. So non-London uni students, read on…
You’ll be less out of pocket
This is surely the most obvious and persuasive reason to avoid London after graduating. Your first job out of university is almost certain to be the lowest-paid position you’ll have during your career – so why start in the most expensive city in the UK?
If you’re desperate to make the move to London eventually, you’d be making a sensible choice by gaining experience in a cheaper city. That way, when you’re applying to jobs in London you’ll be able to go for more senior positions that offer higher rates of pay. Plus, living outside of London means cheaper transport, housing and living costs altogether.
Finding a home will be much easier
Speaking of housing, one of the great things about staying in a town you already know well is that you’re clued up on the best areas to scope out for flats or houses. That means less chance of ending up somewhere dodgy/unsuitable/miles away from your workplace.
What’s more, you’ll already have contacts in the city who may know of rooms or flats available for you to live in – avoiding the inevitable trawl of adverts and cringing at all the descriptions looking for a flatmate with “great chat”. No thank you.
This same network that you’ve built in your uni town could also work to your advantage when it comes to the job hunt. Your tutors, for one, live in the city. Use these contacts to ask around for any opportunities – you may be surprised at what comes up.
You’d also have an advantage applying for any jobs in fields that require knowledge of the city – like local media, for instance. And if you do land some interviews, don’t forget to do some good preparation. Of course, having a pre-established network is also great on a personal level, avoiding the dread of having to build everything from scratch in a new city.
Personally, I’m rubbish when it comes to finding my way around in a new city, but that could just be me. One of the great things about living outside of London is being in a place that’s easy and quick to get around. Your friends might live in “London” but it can still take an hour and a half on a smelly tube to get to them – think of all the time and money you’ll save living in a smaller city.
And you won’t ever have to worry about getting on the wrong branch of the Northern line. Result!
Cities and towns have many different faces
Some people are reluctant to stay in their uni towns because they fancy a bit of a change and feel like they’ve done everything there is to do in the place they’ve lived for the last few years. But living as a student in a city is entirely different from living there as a working adult.
You’ll have different friends, a different schedule, and will end up doing all sorts of things that you didn’t while you were studying (like, being up in time for breakfast) which show a whole different side to a place you thought you knew. So before glumly googling “cheap areas to live in London” after your graduation ceremony, why not give some thought to staying put? You might save yourself money, stress, and sweaty commutes.